Periodontal disease attacks the gums and the bone that support the teeth and is characterized by red, swollen, and bleeding gums. Four out of five people have periodontal disease and don’t know it because the disease is usually painless in the early stages. The risk of periodontal disease is also increased by smoking. Periodontal disease is the number one reason for tooth loss and research suggests that there may be a link between periodontal disease and other diseases such as stroke, bacterial pneumonia, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and increased risk during pregnancy. Researchers are determining if inflammation and bacteria associated with periodontal disease also affects these systemic diseases and conditions.